MAJOR telecoms have been approved to provide their services to 112 wards being part of a government drive to provide universal telecommunication.
Vodacom, Airtel and Tigo and TTCL will provide telecommunications services to 102 wards which are un-served or underserved for a total subsidy of 7.6 million US dollars (14.2bn/-) and another 10 wards located in border areas and special zones for 1.5 million US dollars (2.7bn/-).
The subsidies have been provided to attract the operators to move to the areas which currently do not attract private investment in telecommunication service.
Representatives of the telecommunication companies signed the agreement with the Chief Executive Officer of the Universal Communications Service Access Fund, Mr Peter Ulanga, in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
The agreement signed on Tuesday followed a similar one signed in 2014 where the mobile telephone companies won tender to provide telecommunication services to 86 wards and another one in 2013 where 52 wards were involved.
“This is a good progress towards our goal of universal telecommunication service in the country. We hope next time more wards, perhaps 300 will be covered,” said the Minister for Communication, Science & Technology, Prof. Makame Mbarawa.
The communication operators had been invited to bid for tenders to provide communication services to 158 wards in a project involving 26.28bn/- (14.21 million US dollars).
A total of 158 wards (lots) were floated in a set of currently un-served or under-served wards within the country and 102 lots were bid successfully.
Tigo will cover 42 wards where it will receive 3.145bn/- as subsidies to move to the areas. Vodacom will go to 36 wards and will receive 6.33bn/- as subsidies.
TTCL won 19 wards and will receive 4.15bn/- as subsidies while Airtel has been approved to cover five wards and will get 566m/- as subsidies.
The mobile operators also will provide telecommunication services to 10 wards in border and special zone areas where Vodacom has two wards and will be entitled for 804.7m/- as subsidies, Tigo will go to 5 wards and will receive 985m/- as subsidies and Airtel will provide telecommunication service to three wards and will get 984.9m/- as subsidies.
Meanwhile, the Universal Communications Service Access Fund signed agreement with the Avant Communications to connect 250 public schools with internet and also establishing 25 ICT academic centres in various areas in the country.